Friday, October 30, 2015

Follow that boater!!

I follow a number of fellow boaters on Twitter, and read a number of narrowboat blogs, as well. It's fascinating to follow their exploits, and I learn a lot from them, too. One such tweeter, newly started, is David on NB Wreyland. He also produces an excellent vlog (video log) of his new life on board. The videos are extremely well produced, and the story they tell is a good one. I recommend it, especially for newcomers to canal life, or those considering it, but it's really good entertainment for all. Visit David's vlog at, and follow him on Twitter @CruisingThe Cut
NB Wreyland
I'm not going to single out just one or two boating bloggers to recommend, because there are far too many of them and I wouldn't want to try to rank them, but there's a fairly comprehensive list to be found at Boaters' Blogs.

I was chuffed yesterday to receive an email from Odette Myall, the Digital Content Editor for Canal & River Trust, asking me if I'd contribute to the guest blogs on the their website. She's given me a few subjects to choose from, but she's only allowing me 400 words (!!!) and you know how verbose I can be!! I told her the discipline might do me good...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Well worth paying for!

I was a bit concerned about the weather when I woke up this morning. It'd been raining during the night, and was still at it on and off, with each "on" seeming heavier. The wind gusted ridiculously, too. Sarah and Trevor on AtLast came back from their two-week trip to Glascote Basin, formerly the Hudson boat yard, and they'd had really good weather. Today's was the worst they'd had. When they berthed here today, they filled the one remaining empty space in our long row of pontoon moorings. With Hereward newly-arrived, Achernar back from having her hull zinc-coated, and a very recent arrival tagging on at the end of the row (yesterday, I think, but I can't remember her name), this is the fullest our half of the pontoon has been for quite a long time.

My weather concern was that it was going to be pouring with rain when the engineer from River Canal Rescue came to service Kantara's engine. Fortunately, he arrived at 11:30, just after the rain had abated and the wind had dropped, and he was able to do the job without anything getting wet. Without discomfort to him, too! He did the standard annual service, plus an additional 20-point check, rather like a car's MoT test, but not a legal requirement. It all went very smoothly, and Kantara passed the test with flying colours. There were just two "advisories", both of which require a heating pipe to be better supported.

We're chuffed. She's not young, is Kantara, and we wouldn't have been at all surprised if some problem, hidden from our less-expert eyes, had been discovered. The RCR guy was really efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. The job's done, our minds are at rest over the condition of the engine, and our money was very well spent.

I could have done the service myself, it's true. I have the tools. I know what's required. I would have been a bit iffy doing the inspection, though, and I'm sure I would have missed at least the advisories. I'd much rather pay an expert and have peace of mind. We've had a few dealings with RCR, and I'm most impressed.

We saw another film yesterday. Suffragette. It brought back memories of Grammar School History lessons, but really highlighted more than those the seriousness of the matter, the dangers the women were in, and the abuse they had to suffer in order to achieve the vote.

Meryl Streep has a something of a cameo rĂ´le, but Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter are brilliant. It's really good cinema. Another British film triumph.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

OK, so it seems that everyone's doing this...

...but I just have to post some of the photos I've taken recently of the autumnal evening skies here at Yelvertoft Marina. Just for the record. I'm sorry that some of them overspill into the text on the left. I don't get very good control of their size, and the next size down is just too small!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The stove is alight...

...the boat's warm and snug, the drinks are hot and there's fresh cake to be eaten. It's one of those days. Grey and gloomy, wet and windy ever since we woke up, with no promise of changing for the better for some days. So we're in for the day. Dry and cosy. Like most boaters, I should imagine. I have to fill the water tank, so that'll be a wet task unless I can find a suitable break in the rain. It's tipping it down at the moment.

NB Wreyland arrived back yesterday, but has been sent to a different berth, just up the pontoon from us. A shame, but we do have our decent view from the starboard windows back again.

In grim weather the other day, we went to see The Martian 3D.
"When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney, presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission."
I loved it. I wasn't expecting to, but I did. The 3D is effective, but not intrusive. The storyline is simple, but full of drama and tension. The acting is brilliant, and the direction first class.
We missed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty when it was on the big screens a few years ago. Zoverstocks sold it to me for under £2.
"Walter Mitty, an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To escape the tedium, Walter inhabits a world of exciting daydreams in which he is the undeniable hero. Walter fancies a fellow employee named Cheryl, and would love to date her, but he feels unworthy. However, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life's new owners send him on a mission to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue."
Until recently, I've not been keen on Ben Stiller. I'd only ever seen him in "silly" films, playing silly roles, and I found him tiresome. In this, he was great.

Hmmm... we now have a blocked drain in the shower room. We still need water, and it''s still precipitating. I need to be busy!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Feeling restless

I'm getting twitchy. Some days, the weather's dreadful, and I'm happy to be here in the marina. But some days, or some parts of some days at least, the sun's out, the sky's blue, and I'm wishing we were out on the cut. I've washed the boat, tidied the engine room, painted the chimney cowl, been for walks. And felt restless. RCR engineers will be servicing the engine next week, and I'm paying for an additional 20-point inspection this year, too. A bit like the MoT for the car, but without the legal requirement. I'm looking forward to having that done.

Writing this, I'm sitting at the table, opposite Grace, who's copy-editing and proofreading my book. It's quite unnerving! She's silent, though she does manage the occasional smile. She's laughed, too. And she makes notes from time to time, things she'll bring to me later for my consideration, correction, re-writing or deletion. It's important to me that she does this, and I'm very grateful to her, but it is an anxious time! I'm hoping to publish the book on Kindle (I've dropped the idea of Lulu) in about four weeks.
On the subject of my book, don't forget "A Friendly Guide to Exam Success", written for GCSE students, and already available on Kindle. And do remember that you don't have to have a Kindle reader to access these books. An app is available on the Kindle Store, for PCs, tablets and smartphones.
I went for a stroll along the canal the other day. I know this stretch so well, but I never cease to enjoy its simple beauty, especially in the autumn.

I mentioned a while back the arrival of NB Wreyland in the berth next to us. It turns out that new owner, first-time boater David is @CrusingTheCut I've been chatting with on Twitter for some weeks. He never said anything which suggested he was going to come to Yelvertoft, and it was purely by chance that he moored next to us. A strange coincidence! He's just announced that he'll be spending winter here. He had intended to go to another marina. He's out on his first, short solo trip at the moment, thoroughly enjoying himself! And he will, for years to come, I'm sure.